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Tuck School at Dartmouth lays off 18 staff members

Valley News Staff Writers
Published: 9/16/2020 5:35:24 PM
Modified: 9/16/2020 9:14:16 PM

HANOVER — The Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth is laying off 18 staffers after ending fiscal year 2020 with a $3.3 million deficit due to the COVID-19 pandemic, college officials said Wednesday.

Tuck School Dean Matthew Slaughter sent Tuck employees and students an email Tuesday afternoon describing the cuts, calling them “difficult and painful decisions we have now taken” but saying they were necessary to stabilize finances in fiscal year 2021, which began July 1. The layoffs involve staff workers spread throughout the graduate business school. No faculty members are affected.

Tuck has also reduced expenses in department budgets and cut back on outside contractors, according to Slaughter’s email.

“The pandemic has substantially affected our school’s financial situation, reducing revenues while also requiring us to make investments for the continuity of our academic mission in a virtual environment,” wrote Slaughter, who said COVID-19’s impact was “the primary driver of Tuck’s year-end deficit of $3.3 million.”

Tuck spokeswoman Lindsey Walter said the affected staff employees will “continue their work through the end of October. We do not anticipate further staff reductions at Tuck in the near term.”

Tuck had an operating budget of about $90 million in fiscal year 2020, and after the layoffs and completion of a Dartmouth-wide early retirement option, will have a staff of 160, Walter said. Tuck has about 575 students and 72 faculty members. Tuition this year is $77,520.

In an online community conversation Wednesday afternoon, Dartmouth Provost Joseph Helble said “job reductions” in other schools or divisions of Dartmouth, which has an overall operating budget of about $1.12 billion, will also take place but will not be “widespread.”

“There will be layoffs or there will be furloughs,” he said.

In July, Dartmouth’s division managers were asked to trim spending by about 3.6% because of the pandemic. Dartmouth CFO Mike Wagner on Wednesday said COVID-related fiscal year 2021 losses are now projected at $83 million, including $15 million in increased costs and $68 million in lost revenue.

Dartmouth has allowed only about half of its 4,400 undergraduates back on campus this fall, and while students taking classes remotely pay tuition, those still living away from campus are not required to pay room and board, which college officials have said could cost Dartmouth $32 million in lost revenue this school year.

Wagner said Dartmouth plans to offset most of its new costs and lost revenue from a combination of $15 million in savings from a salary freeze and $50 million in “rebudgeting,” which includes layoffs.

Dartmouth in July also launched a “retirement incentive option” for which it said about 550 employees, or 18%, of the college’s workforce would be eligible.

The one-time buyout offer included six months of pay to employees who have worked at the college for at least 10 consecutive years and whose combined years of employment and age is at least 75. Dartmouth last month also started a new “furlough” policy targeting nonunion employees with reduced workloads, and which could turn into a layoff if it lasts more than six months.

College spokeswoman Diana Lawrence on Wednesday said data about the furloughs and early retirement results were “not currently available.”

The laid-off Tuck workers are being encouraged to apply for three new positions at the business school, and they are also being offered severance pay based on their length of service and career coaching and other “outplacement services,” according to Slaughter’s email.

Dartmouth reported an endowment of $5.7 billion in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019.

A public report on how the endowment fared in fiscal year 2020 is expected soon.

Slaughter’s email to the Tuck community said that Dartmouth’s “fiscal policy on operating deficits requires professional schools to draw upon non-endowment reserves to cover any annual operating deficits.”

Valley News staff writer John Lippman contributed to this report. John P. Gregg can be reached at jgregg@vnews.com.




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